September 16, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith (99) tackles Detroit Lions running back Kevin Smith (30) during the first quarter at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Relying on Running Game a Questionable Strategy for Detroit Lions Against 49ers

The Lions consistently trying to run the ball on first down last night was like asking Miguel Cabrera to bunt the runner along; it didn’t make much sense. It’s hard to believe the coaches sat around a table and discussed this and THAT was the best plan they could come up with. The strategy of running the ball so much is exactly what the 49ers wanted.

All week long, the build up was about the potent Lions offense going against the best defensive unit in the league, but the Lions didn’t want to stand toe to toe with them. Instead of the Lions throwing the ball to the best receiver in the NFL, Calvin Johnson, on deep patterns, they choose to hand the ball off to a mediocre bunch of running backs. I thought I was watching the Lions of old in the first half – back when the Leos almost always did the run, run, pass and punt dance. I would have felt a lot better about this strategy if Mikel Leshoure was available to play in the game

It’s obvious that the 49ers are a better team than the Lions are at this point in the season. The defense was everything we’ve heard it was. That’s how you tackle, folks. Maybe the Lions should spend some time watching their technique. All in all, it was not the worst game the Lions could have played. Despite a secondary that really didn’t have any of it’s starters playing, they hung with the 49er’s for the whole game. Take away the penalty when the Lions landed on the kicker and an uncharacteristic missed field goal by Jason Hanson and the Lions are in this game.

You can already tell this year has an entirely different vibe to it than last year. The Lions shocked the NFL last year with their 5-0 start, this year everybody has their date with the Lions circled in red ink. If the Lions weren’t such a high profile team, Handshake-gate would have been swept under the rug an long time ago. Did I really hear Ravens head coach John Harbaugh say this was the biggest handshake since Grant and Lee at Appomattox at the end of the Civil War? I’m glad both coaches were embarrassed by the incident and wanted nothing to do with it during the week.

I never thought I’d see the day when Alex Smith would out-duel Matthew Stafford in a battle of number one picks. Stafford had another shaky game last night, but this time he didn’t have a game winning drive to wash away the bad taste of his performance. You don’t see too many Stafford throws float like that. Stafford is the least of my worries regarding the Lions. That would go to Titus Young Sr. Where is this emerging star I was hearing about all training camp?

Two games down and 14 more to go but this season already has fans buzzing.

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